Centre Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats
- What is the unit called?
Centre Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats (Centrum proti terorismu a hybridním hrozbám).
- Why was it set up?
It was one of the recommendations that stemmed from the preliminary conclusions of the National Security Audit, which identified various types of hybrid threats, including terrorism and radicalisation and foreign disinformation campaigns, as serious internal security threats, and recommended that such units be set up within all relevant government bodies.
The Centre itself was set up following a declaration of the Minister of the Interior in May 2016, after the conclusion of the first phase of the National Security Audit.
The need to tackle new asymmetric, or hybrid, threats is also confirmed in the government-approved National Security Strategy of the Czech Republic.
- When will the unit start operating?
1 January 2017.
- Why is it at the Ministry of the Interior?
This is because questions pertaining to internal security, regardless of the methods and the context in which they occur, legally fall within the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior. Therefore in legal terms, there is no difference between classical nation-wide threats (such as political terrorism) and threats that fall within the context of current hybrid campaigns (such as soft target terrorist attacks coupled with Islamist propaganda spread via social media).
- Will this be a new institution?
No. The unit will be formed within an existing department using the current budget of the Ministry of the Interior.
- What will the Centre do?
It will essentially be a specialised analytical and communications unit. Given the competencies of the Ministry of the Interior, the Centre will monitor threats directly related to internal security, which implies a broad array of threats and potential incidents relative to terrorism, soft target attacks, security aspects of migration, extremism, public gatherings, violation of public order and different crimes, but also disinformation campaigns related to internal security. Based on its monitoring work, the Centre will evaluate detected challenges and come up with proposals for substantive and legislative solutions that it will also implement where possible. It will also disseminate information and spread awareness about the given issues among the general and professional public.
- What the Centre is not and what it will not do:
The Centre will not be a new law enforcement agency, nor an intelligence service.
The Centre will not have a button for “switching off the internet”.
The Centre will not force the “truth” on anyone, or censor media content. It will not remove content from the internet or other (printed) media.
It will work primarily with open sources available to all and will openly communicate with civil society, the media, and other subjects.
The Centre will not lock anyone up, interrogate anyone, or lead any proceedings with anyone.
The Centre will not spread any kind of propaganda, but only expertise relating to the field of internal security, and is modelled on similar strategic communications teams that already exist in the Baltic states or in the United Kingdom.
The Centre will also inform about serious cases of disinformation and will provide expert opinions for the public and for government institutions. These opinions, as those of a government institution, will be based on the constitutional order of the Czech Republic.